Rick Perry knows a thing or two about election days. He was undefeated in races for offices in Texas from 1984 through the end of his last term as governor in January 2015, although he did get walloped twice in the 2012 and 2016 when he sought the Republican presidential nomination.
Today is the latest big day at the ballot box for Perry as he tries to survive the first cut in the Dancing with the Stars reality television show on ABC. Fans have all day to vote for Perry, who danced to the theme song from television’s Green Acres on Monday night, by calling 1-800-868-3410. ABC also accepts digital votes at dwtsvote.abc.go.com. Perry is dancing on behalf of veterans charities, and is getting support on social media from high-powered backers like former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich and Taya Kyle, who was married to the late Chris Kyle of American Sniper fame.
Even Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, who opposed Perry in the GOP primary this year and isn’t exactly close to the former governor, took to Twitter to back his foe. “Help @GovernorPerry #AdvanceTheColors for our vets,” Cruz wrote.
Perry scored an anemic 22 for his quickstep performance with professional dancer Emma Slater, but it beat the 20 he got last week. “It’s like a bad cold, you can’t get rid of it,” judge Bruno Tonioli said of the stiff performance. The audience booed the judge, and conservatives took to social media to bash the judges for appearing (to them) to pick on Perry because he’s a Republican. Another judge, Carrie Ann Inaba, complimented Perry for an improved performance.
It might take a lot of help from veterans and politicians alike for Perry to survive tonight’s cut. Among the top performers so far in the eyes of the judges are Olympic gymnast Laurie Hernandez, Indy race car driver James Hinchcliffe, actress Marilu Henner, country singer Jana Kramer, former NFL star Calvin Johnson and singer Kenny “Babyface” Edmonds. One performer considered in the lower tier with Perry is rapper Vanilla Ice, but voters are fickle and difficult to predict. Perhaps the most talked-about competitor is Olympic swimmer Ryan Lochte, who drew protesters last week on the program’s season debut.